Sometimes Facebook can be a marvellous thing. Scrolling through my news feed one day, I found that a friend of mine had ‘liked’ something called ‘Tune Out Tuesday’. Mildly curious, I clicked the link and found that a café in Sai Ying Pun put out board games every Tuesday evening. I immediately messaged this friend, who said that she hadn’t been to one yet, but she was planning to, and would I like to come along too? I know it sounds quite like I invited myself, and I suppose that actually I did in a way. But in my early twenties I missed a couple of things for fear of imposing on people, who would afterwards say, ‘oh, you should have come! It was great! It wasn’t really an invite thing, just a group of us decided to go!’ and I’d feel left out and a bit of an idiot to boot. So now, if I see something I want to attend, I’ll tell friends that I want to go. I’m an introvert/extrovert, meaning that I don’t like to go out too often, but when I do, I am very loud and enthusiastic and enjoy being the centre of attention. So I guess people never know quite what to expect, since I’ll often either duck out of things at the last moment (I know, I am a terrible person) or else I’ll throw myself into enjoying an event.
I arrived first, and ordered myself a Gweilo beer. For those who don’t know, ‘gweilo’ is a cantonese slang term for westerners. It apparently loosely translates as ‘ghost man’. Whether it was once intended to be derogatory or not (I’m never too certain), it isn’t really these days. Hence why a local brewery decided it would be a good beer name, I guess. It’s very tasty, anyway. The guy behind the bar told me that I could hang onto my phone until my friends arrived (I think he felt a bit sorry for me), but that if I handed it in afterwards he would give me 20% off the final bill. I messaged on the group chat to say I was there and they started joking that they would hide around the corner, or pretend not to know me, so I would look friendless AND delusional (yes, they are good enough friends that we can joke like that!) As each friend arrived, they all handed in their phones to be stashed away underneath the bar, and I pretty reluctantly handed mine over too. It was a stranger feeling than I’d anticipated, and I hadn’t realised how much I rely on Google. A Britney song came on the stereo and we all argued about what year it had come out, but none of us could check. We weren’t sure if the aim of ‘Tumbling Monkeys’ was to gain monkeys or avoid them, and we all looked around for our phones or patted pockets to look it up before we remembered. When we played connect 4 in teams, and tried our hands at giant Jenga, I kept thinking I ought to take a photo for this blog before remembering that my only camera is on my phone.
It was amazing to ‘Tune Out’ with my friends with no electronic devices, though I have to admit it was quite a relief when my grubby purple case was handed back to me at the end. It must have played on my mind because I even dreamt that night that I lent my phone to a stranger, and they slid my I.D card and Octopus card out the case before handing the phone back. It also wasn’t lost on me that I wouldn’t have even known about this event without my phone. But the next time I meet my friends, I think I’ll turn my phone off and stow it in my bag. Even without the added incentive of 20% off a bill, it’s a good idea. Although perhaps exceptions could be made for checking the release date of ‘baby hit me one more time’.